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    ABSTRACT: We measured N-acetylaspartate and its precursor/product N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) in urine of patients with Canavan disease using capillary zone electrophoresis. Abnormal levels of NAAG were found in 32 of 43 patients examined. Elevated NAAG was also present in the CSF of one patient. Given that NAAG may interfere with N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor function, the occurrence of high levels of NAAG in patients' urine conceivably represents a participating factor in the pathogenesis of Canavan disease. CONCLUSION: The biochemical role of N-acetylaspartylglutamate and its relationship to glutamatergic function may be relevant to the pathogenesis of Canavan disease.
    European Journal of Pediatrics 06/1999; 158(5):406-9. DOI:10.1007/s004310051102 · 1.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mast cells play a central role in both immediate allergic reactions and inflammation. A functional nerve-mast cell interaction has been proposed, given the morphological association between mast cells and neuropeptide-containing peripheral nerves. We now show that purified rat peritoneal mast cells contain large quantities of N-acetylaspartate (NAA; 747.50 nmol/mg of protein). Mast cell levels of NAA were rapidly reduced, by 64.0 and 86.4%, following treatment with compound 48/80 and mastoparan, respectively. These secretagogues strongly decreased mast cell histamine content over the same time period, suggesting also that NAA is stored in secretory granules. The data are the first to show that NAA is present in an immune effector cell type. Because NAA may be involved in myelin synthesis and glutamyl peptide metabolism, NAA released from mast cells following nervous or other stimuli could participate in neuroimmune interactions. Mast cells in multiple sclerosis plaques may contribute to the reported elevations in brain NAA in this disease.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 08/1997; 69(3):1314 - 1317. DOI:10.1046/j.1471-4159.1997.69031314.x · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Canavan disease (CD) is an autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by spongiform degeneration of the white matter of the brain. Aspartoacylase (ASPA) hydrolyses N-acetylaspartic acid to aspartate and acetate. Mutation of the gene results in enzyme deficiency to result CD. The clinical features seen in the disease are head lag, macrocephaly, hypotonia and mental retardation. More than forty five mutations have been identified in the ASPA gene. Pathophysiological abnormalities seen in CD is likely due to abnormal metabolic levels of NAA, aspartate, acetate, aspartate aminotransferase, glutamate, glutamate dehydrogenase, γ-aminobutyric acid, and ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex. These pathways are useful to understand possible therapeutical targets and pharmacological manipulations in CD.
    EXCLI Journal 01/2005; 4:77-86. · 0.73 Impact Factor